PALS Students Win 2019 Sustainable Growth Challenge

Mar 29, 2019 / Updated May 13, 2019


A group of students from the University of Maryland Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program won the 2019 Sustainable Growth Challenge March 22 for their work on streambank and road erosion in Harford County, Maryland.

Alexander Bailor, Narges Borumand, Ellen Kortesoja, Elena Perry, Luke Savonis and G. Trey Miller presented their project to the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission on March 22 and received their awards at the commission’s bi-monthly meeting this past Monday. Students from Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College were also recognized.

“These students represent the next generation of innovators who will help ensure Maryland remains a national leader in sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I am proud of their efforts and all of the forward-thinking work being done at our state’s colleges and universities.”

As a part of the Fall 2018 Planning Technology class, students from the graduate community-planning program at UMD worked with PALS to use applied computer mapping tools to address streambank erosion in Harford County. Using Geographic Information Systems data, the team identified vulnerable roadways in the county at risk for streambank erosion.  Using the software’s tools, the team found a total of 438 vulnerable roadways, 236 of which had high or severe risk of erosion. The team delivered its findings to Harford County representatives in December.

The Sustainable Growth Challenge is a program that engages Maryland college students in developing creative solutions to sustainability while also providing career-building, real world learning experience. The challenge is an interdisciplinary exercise promoting economic growth, environmental stewardship and sustainable land use at the community level.

“The awardees have demonstrated creativity, flexibility and passion in their projects,” said Planning Secretary Rob McCord. “We continue to foster a legacy of best practices using mentorship, collaboration and education as our foundation.”

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